Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hope Springs Eternal Redux

"I truly believe, in my heart, we’re going to surprise a lot of people. I’m not saying we’re going to win a championship. I’m just saying we’re going to be better than people think we’re going to be.”  -- Mets Manager Terry Collins
"The goal this year is to be competitive. … We expect primarily with internal improvements and the continued development of our young players and the return of Johan Santana, hopefully, we can finish much better than we did last year.”  -- Mets GM Sandy Alderson

Well, it was another brutally disappointing season for the Mets last year.  And the off season was not much better.  The Mets have major financial problems thanks to years of mismanagement and their long entanglement with Bernie Madoff.  They lost Jose Reyes, one of the most electrifying players in the game, to free agency.  They made no meaningful trades or signings, and have serious questions with regard to the health and performance of several key players, including Johan Santana, their erstwhile star pitcher, who missed all of last year with injuries.

But, hell, it's spring training, when hope springs eternal.

The Mets actually could field a pretty good team.  Maybe the move to bring the fences in will help David Wright, Jason Bay and the other players with heretofore warning track power hit a few more dingers.  Maybe Ike Davis can shake off his injury-plagued year and become the greatest Jewish Met since Art Shamsky.  Maybe Ruben Tejada will make us forget the deep and abiding pain of losing Jose Reyes.  Maybe Daniel Murphy can learn to play second base without hurting himself.  Maybe R.A. Dickey's climb this winter of Mt. Kilimanjaro won't prove to be the high point of his year.  Maybe Jon Niese's nose job will give him the breathing room to be a better pitcher.  Maybe Johan Santana will come back strong and take the pressure off anxiety-plagued Mike Pelfrey and the remainder of the anxiety-inducing pitching staff.

Just maybe, if everything goes right (and Wright), the Mets can put an exciting team on the field, win 90-plus games and make the playoffs.

Hmmm.  I wonder what I wrote last year?

Hope Springs Eternal
originally posted Feb. 14, 2011

 Cue the Ken Burns music.  Spring training, like spring itself, is a time of renewal and rebirth; a time when even the lowliest team has hope for the season ahead.  Critical trades over the winter have bolstered the team's weaknesses.  Players coming off injury-plagued seasons are returning in the best shape of their careers.  Hitters have corrected the flaws in their swing and pitchers have discovered devastating new pitches.  It may be hackneyed and trite, but I buy it every year.

That's why I eat up articles like the one in the Sunday Times, If The Stars Align, The Mets Could Surprise, Really.

The article concedes that "the 2006 club fell short of the World Series, the 2007 and 2008 teams had crushing September collapses, and the 2009 and 2010 squads succumbed to injuries and some remarkably poor play."  The Mets made no significant trades to make the team better for 2011, and their star pitcher, Johan Santana will not return from surgery until mid-season.  Nevertheless, the piece goes on to surmise, if the Mets' core players stay healthy and the younger players continue to improve, the team could be "formidable."

Yes, he said, "formidable."  Go ahead and laugh, but remember that last year at this time anyone who predicted the Giants would be formidable, much less World Series champs, would have been laughed at too.  So, at least until opening day, I'm feeling optimistic and excited about the Mets' new season.  Really.


Scotty G said...

Lovechilde - this either means you are an eternal optimist, a die hard fan,
or you haven't learned from past experience. Or maybe all 3.
Go Giants.

Lovechilde said...

Or, that I was just being facetious.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

"But, hell, it's spring training, when hope springs eternal."

Let's Go Mets.


Me, You, or Ellie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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